A Lesson

ain’t nobody gonna beat me at nuthin.

The way that Miss Moore feels the need to separate herself from the community rubs Sylvia the wrong way. It doesn’t help that the lessons that Miss Moore teaches don’t make the most sense to Sylvia, so her constant nonsensical blabber surrounding topics that Sylvia doesn’t even care about makes her even less likable. Sylvia says, ” she’s boring us silly about what things cost and what our parents make and how much goes for rent and how money ain’t divided up right in this country” (4). Even though Sylvia doesn’t like Miss Moore, it is clear that all of the children gain some perspective at the toy store. At the end of the story, Sugar reveals what she has learned from their adventure. She says, “You know Miss Moore, I don’t think all of us here put together eat in a year what that sailboat costs”(49). Sugar’s revelation can help the reader further understand the conflict between Sylvia and Miss Moore. The issue is that one educated person, one teacher, cannot undo the systematic oppression and economic disparity stacked up against these kids. Sylvia doesn’t like Miss Moore because Sylvia is not trying to decode the system but just trying to live in it. Sylvia’s greatest weakness is her lack of desire to think critically about things that don’t interest her. Miss Moore pushes Sylvia out of her comfort zone and asks her questions that she can’t answer. However, Sylvia begins to understand she is being slighted by the world around her. At the end of the story, Sylvia says, ” to think this day though… ain’t nobody gonna beat me at nuthin”(56). Revealing that Miss Moore’s lesson worked, Sylvia understands more about her place in their society and she wants to do something about it.

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